They're Fergainst It: Turns Out, Folks Like the Hotel. They Just Don't Want to Pay For It.
We spent the lunch hour on Thursday walking the streets of the West End and talking to folks about their views on the convention center hotel project. Of those we talked to, most said they liked the idea of building a hotel to encourage development downtown, but weren't so sure about having the city footing the bill.
"Maybe the hotel will spur more development -- sometimes it takes a project of that magnitude to do that," said Stephen Pickard, a local architect. "But if it's such a great idea, why aren't developers clamoring to do it? I mean, Dallas is a developer-driven town."
So, how will he vote on the referendum?
"My wife's voting yes -- against the hotel --I'm probably going to vote no, for it," he said. "But I'm still on the fence."
Though he has concerns about the wisdom of the city's approach, he also said he's leery of the hotel's opponents.
"I wonder about them -- if it's just Harlan Crow -- and if they're just trying to stop another hotel from being built and prevent competition. I wish it were coming from someone else, more grassroots, not just Harlan Crow."
Carolyn Rhynes said she'll vote against the hotel, simply because of the economy.
"I don't think they should build it," she said. "The economy's too bad right now. I think they should wait."
Yet Andre Thomas, a Tarrant County resident who was showing his fiance, visiting from Mississippi, around downtown Dallas, thought the opposite. "Anything that brings jobs is a good thing," he said, "Dallas doesn't have a good hotel for conventions; It would bring more development."
Since so far everyone we'd talked to seemed to be in their 40s, we thought we'd check in with some younger folks. A couple who looked to be in their early 20s admitted they didn't know much about the issue though.
"My parents would probably know," offered the young man with a shrug. "I got a flier that says 'Vote No' - is that what you're talking about?" We nodded. "Maybe you could tell me something about it," he said.
A few minutes later, a young man named Maurice Taylor said, yes, he's well aware of what's going on -- and so far, he hasn't bought what the mayor's selling.
"I don't think it's a good idea if the taxpayers will be paying for it," he said. "I'm going to delve more into it, but at this point I'm voting yes against the hotel. But if it turns out the citizens don't have to pay for it, then I'm all for it."